Healing through #Blackoutpoetry

During Thanksgiving weekend I took the time to explore articles, chapters, ads, and even signposts that had any sort of letters and words I could manipulate to create #blackoutpoetry. Since I am not so much of a poetic person, I thought this experience would be a bit more difficult; however, after creating 3 of them, I learned some powerful truths on what it means to be a maker.

  • power of scarcity: inspires you to create your own using the available resources.
  • power of frugality: build something through the means of deleting rather than adding more.
  • power of becoming: meaning-making can be serendipitous or the constant state of “not yet”.

Compared to that of #25wordstory, I experienced the joy of passivity by deleting the through the words. Instead of reading on, I was able to skip and hop through the words and make rich connections between two, three, or four words that seem distant from each other. It was quite therapeutic to say the least.

In the first one I came up with was:


the passage Left Behind has been narrow

Excellence Gap .jpeg

Since this was a dry article on Excellence Gap, it wasn’t easy to pick and choose which words I wanted to let go because so many phrases used in the article were repetitive and dry. On the other hand, deleting some adjectives allowed me to be inclusive for all children who struggle and the phrase “the passage” had wider connotative implication instead of the denotation the phrase had actually intended.

Non-GMO snack .jpeg

The second and third experiments led me to an anthropological take on humanity’s wants. When I went to Costco to buy snacks for my daughter, I purchased a box of chips labeled non-GMO that also had least calories compared to that of other chips. What caught my eyes was that the bag also had words and phrases I thought I could use for #blackoutpoetry. When I mentally deleted some words, I thought it would be fun to create new meanings out of the bag of chips. Instead what the activity taught me was it revealed the helplessness of the health-less snacks we’ve been consumed with for the past years. Although they were non-GMO vegetable snacks, I saw the traces of battle against people’s hunger for salt, fat, and colors. Not to mention the subliminal message imbedded in the word words luring away people to buy their products, especially the third one below!

Dove .jpeg


Free tested .

Squeeze wet, creamy.  ; )




As a former ESL student, I can see how #blackoutpoetry can become a powerful tool to engage students whose English may be a second or third language. It places a tremendous power on the students who might have had less success with usage, mechanics, semantics, and so on. It allows them to delete, manipulate, connect, and make meanings the way these words “speak to them”. The activity can even trigger them to find English interesting and even beautiful because it gives them the power to create meanings apart from prescribed instruction on the language.

For me, this activity has been therapeutic. 🙂


One thought on “Healing through #Blackoutpoetry

  1. brennalche November 30, 2016 / 4:55 pm

    I have never heard of blackout poetry, so I found this post very interesting. I like the idea of using household items. I to am not a poet person, but I could see myself doing this. Thank you for the post.


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